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PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (June 9, 1998 - Samoa News)---American Samoa is invited to take part in the annual South Pacific Millennium Consortium (SPMC) Conference scheduled for the month of July in Papua New Guinea, according to SPMC official Bernadette Ganilau.

SPMC is part of the Tourism Council of the South Pacific. Their responsibilities are to promote South Pacific islands as a place to be when the world says "Good-bye to the old century and welcomes in the year 2000."

Ganilau told Samoa News recently that SPMC continues to push the South Pacific region as a destination because of its diverse culture, which spreads across two time zones and the dateline.

"A tourist can welcome the year 2000 in Fiji, then hop on the next flight and make it to the Samoan Islands on the eve of the new century and start all over again," Ganilau said from her office in Fiji. "It's one of the unique opportunities that the South Pacific has right now in competing with other regions of the world for the Millennium."

Ganilau said American Samoa can claim itself, "The last U.S. possession to welcome the new century" noting that Guam is taking the claim that they are the first U.S. possession to welcome the year 2000.

"These are some of the positive ways to attract people from the U.S. and around the world to visit American Samoa," she added. "By the same token, these visitors have a chance to travel across the dateline to other Pacific regions."

Ganilau has been in contact with a major U.S. television production company in New York. This company has been assigned to broadcast footage from around the world, live or taped delay, to the big Sony TV screen in Time Square, New York on the eve of 1999.

"SPMC has been promised several spots on that broadcast, which will be a 24-hour telecast," she added.

During the PNG Conference, SPMC will announce an update of where they stand and what spots are available to its membership. "If the Cook Islands can be broadcast to billion viewers, why not American Samoa?" she noted.

Department of Commerce/Tourism Office officials confirmed they have been invited to the PNG Conference, but could not say whether they would attend.

"I encourage American Samoa to attend this conference. It's important as we are only months away from the eve of 1999. Preparations must be in place by early next year," Ganilau told Samoa News.

Ganilau believes American Samoa's Centennial Celebration will help draw tourists to the area, "This is one of the ways to get the message across to the world, especially the U.S. market."

Stories from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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